Can an Objectivist Believe in God?

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Dr. Onkar Ghate of the Ayn Rand Institute discusses why Objectivism is fundamentally incompatible with mysticism.

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35 thoughts on “Can an Objectivist Believe in God?

  1. The speaker is in my humble opinion wrong. For instance in mathematics we have discovered there is no way to prove every statement using a formal set of axioms without contradiction and / or being complete (Godels incompleteness theorem) for instance. This means there is no set of laws which we can formulate which can describe the universe around us. And yet the speaker is assuming everything in the world can be explained by rational thought. This is in itself a contradiction of logic and if objectiveness is about rational thought without contradiction, then the ideology is itself a contradiction. How can you hold an ideology that says the only thing that is real can be explained objectively when we know without doubt we cannot objectively prove even the foundation of all modern mathematics! Or for instance we also know in physics we cannot observe particles through experimentation without our instrumentation altering the very thing we are observing. This means everything we believe in the scientific and mathematical world cannot be explained through reason alone and we at the end of the day are forced by no choice of our own to hold faith in the sciences we have developed. In my humble opinion this gives huge credence to the idea that there is a greater existence than that of the one we perceive right now.

  2. Believe what you want about where God comes from, but religion… thats something else… that's the real evil. Its rituals and beliefs forced onto others. That the only way to salvation is to do exactly as I say and give me your money too. That could only be the work of one man trying to control another.

  3. Objectivism can be an extremely beneficial belief system and way of life when it is used according to its proper context. The mind is capable of achieving many great things, but it is also limited to the laws of nature and can only be fully utilized as far as our physical world will allow it to be. Ideas, thoughts, and creativity produced by the mind unfortunately can have its limitations due to the incapability to interpret and translate these ideas into tangible objective realities. Beyond the mental state is the physical state and beyond that is the world unseen which governs and binds the physical world. The ultimate achievement of mankind then is not simply attaining material wealth by production, but the selfish pursuit of knowledge and understanding. The moral code presented by Ayn Rand is worthy of being socially and economically feasible, yet unfortunately is bound by practical and physical barriers that allow it to operate in its own construct, apart from the conglomeration of our existential framework. To use the analogy, the rules of classical physics do not apply to the rules of quantum physics.

    I am an artist. I create ideas, I produce works of value. I also think objectively as much as possible. I am deeply spiritual, seeking the truth, knowing the importance of the mind, and utilizing it to its fullest potential. I understand Objectivism and its precepts. It unfortunately has a tendency to mischaracterize spiritual matters, or "mysticism" as it coins it. It is unfortunate because an intellectual or a great thinker should always strive to seek the ultimate of intellectual pursuits. Mystery is the motivating factor for mankind's greatest achievements. To simply dismiss it outright is placing barricades in the mind that should be free to roam.

    So to put it in proper perspective, God and the spirit is the foundation on which all other thought is built upon. God is the spirit that drives us to pursue greatness. We love our life and our mind and what it is capable of achieving, only because God is the source of all love. Why? Because God is love. We cannot rightly say we love anything if we are do not even know what love really is. We have knowledge because He is the source of all knowledge. God is the architect, the intellect, the mind of it all, the first and only True Objectivist. Once we fully grasp that understanding, I mean truly understand, then everything else makes sense. Then, and only then, can we even attempt to begin to reason. I see alot of people try to separate reason and religion, because they do not understand the basic tenets of religion, and I question if they understand reason as well. But, alas, that is only my methodical objective opinion. I do not want to fault Ayn Rand because she is bound by her experience growing up in Russia, and because she was an intellectual who did the best she could with the limited resources she had available. In most cases, all we can do is the best within us with what we have available.

    Last thing I will say, is that the first Atlas Shrugged movie was well made for the budget it had and not having the support of liberal Hollywood. The second film was acceptable, but the third one, to be honest, was embarrassing, and was not worthy of being called Atlas Shrugged. It is a shame, though, because even the first film as well as it was, still did not drive home the message that was conveyed in the novel, or the imminent consequences of what was being played out. Who knows if they will ever make another film based on the book. I should have been the director of the films, I would have done it justice. But, of course, instead of placing a massive project into capable intelligent hands, these types of projects instead are given to people who do just enough to get by. Kind of like what happens in the novel as well. It is ironic though, that the filmmakers where not even capable of apply the rigid principles of the very book they tried to adapt. Now to make another set of films would truly require sacrifice.

  4. De facto, the Philosophers are the ones who constantly contradict themselves, the misled philosophers. Plato when asked that Moses AS is performing miracles. Instead of checking them out, he boasted “we are all ready towards the straight path and don’t need a leader “. Though this wretched plato should have checked thats what logic but he acted utterly illogically. Paul Davies an Australian scientist came to the conclusion after his research that the earth and horizon were initially joined. And when they got separated by Allah’s will, two things got into existence, speed and gravity. And even if a micro second was increased or decreased everything would have been destroyed. How did this happen that everything had a proper time interval. Certainly, Almighty Allah did this. But at this point these misled atheists scientists, philosophers with logic stop thinking. I challenge any atheist to reply to this.

  5. If you define God as existence/universe in its entirity. then it would be valid concept. But you then cannot talk about creation or that he is above this reality, it would simply be that he is this reality. But that would be redundant concept, because we already have the concept of existence. Ayn Rand was convinced that existence is good since man is meant to live meaningful live and be happy.

  6. Way to sound like a smug asshole while regurgitating your copy and pasted philosophy. I love reading Rand but this is part of the reason people don’t take objectivism seriously. Objectivists won’t ever take alternative views into consideration. What makes it even better is that their own view isn’t even their own view. It’s a copy and pasted cookie cutter philosophy that gets promoted dogmatically.

    Any Rand was the first and last objectivist. Her followers are merely “Randians”

  7. No. A proper Objectivist philosopher would reject "God" belief as gross error because Objectivism holds to the Primacy of Existence and rejects Primacy of Consciousness metaphysics. The "God" conjecture is a form of Primacy of Consciousness; that is a belief that a form of consciousness makes reality and that hence reality is contingent to consciousness. Since all rational beings directly perceive the Primacy of Existence by virtue of observing the Law of Identity, A=A, that wishing doesn't make it so, and that one cannot have their cake and eat it too, they know without having to engage in deductive reasoning that the Primacy of Consciousness is false, so the "God" conjecture is likewise false. In similar fashion they also thus inductively grasp that consciousness is contingent to existence.

    Additionally, principles of Objectivism can be used to demonstrate that the "God" conjecture is both a stolen concept fallacy and an instance of the fallacy of pure self-reference, so a proper objectivist will reject theism and deism.

  8. God cannot change reality and the rules that govern it at will. If God is God, He is perfect and thereby unchanging. Changing what He created would be equivalent to changing His mind, hence, not perfect, not unchanging, and thereby not actually God.

  9. Religious believers DON'T UNDERSTAND A THING:

    What is a belief? specifically, religious beliefs.
    It's not a fact per se.

    A belief is the decision to ''take for granted'' an expression i.e. ''God'', and assume it is part of the real, material existence. Talk of something in a rethorical way that it seems to be real but it is not.

    The say ''God'' in a way that doesn't reflect reality, ''God'' is an idea.
    ''The Soul''.
    The ''soul'' it's an idea, you like to think and feel it exists even we can't measure, see it.

    With ''God, soul, spirit, angels, hell, heaven'' it happens the same thing. They feel those ideas exists in the real material world.
    But those are only ideas.
    You can't prove or disprove ideas, they are subjective.
    You only can prove or disprove with measurements and observation, real things like a brain, skin, radioactivity, a rock, gas, stars, etc.

    I know religious people will never change their rethoric to talk with real concrete sense. They'll always talk about their concepts with subjectivism and relativism, so a rattional approach is rejected, denied. That's a life decision. It affects your whole life and your environment.
    You can't have ''strong'' religious beliefs, and same time being scientifically rational. You can be smart, have some common sens when it's needed, intelligent…and believe in gods or spirits, but in the moment you take your beliefs as the BASE of the entire life and the Universe, you are living a parallel reality. It's like an insanity ''socially accepted'', because there are billions of believers.
    So we ''can't'' stigmatize them.

    PS: we can't? they stigmatize Us for not having their beliefs. Remember that!

  10. If I can't be objectivist at the same time believe in god, meaning that they are incompatible with each other, How does one then run a Windows Program within a Linux operating System?

  11. The arrogance is amazing. They quote reality as if they have an absolute grasp on all things of the universe. Basically, if we have not discovered with our instruments and limited means, then it must not be. Furthermore, that you should not even consider it. I reject this presumption. To discount faith in a field dependent on discovery is to destroy the objective of wonder and adventure. If one did not adventure into the Congo with the belief that there may be gorillas, we would still be claiming them to be ephemeral today. All the bible asks of us is faith – the belief in things unseen. For if we have already seen them, then for what reason would we have faith? The answers and testimonies offered by the bible cannot be ignored for lack of reach or discovery especially when the narrative is so gravely and historically ingrained in the tale of our being.

  12. The question, as stated in the video's title is "CAN an Objectivist believe in God?". The dialog went into the philosophical, as it has done for over 1,000 years. However, in the INTRODUCTION TO OBJECTIVIST EPISTEMOLOGY, Rand made the case that you cannot prove ANYTHING exists "You cannot even prove that you exist". Before I came across Ayn Rand's philosophy, I heard, from Mr. Spock, "Factual premises and valid reasoning yield true conclusions". Since you need factual premised to obtain truth then it must be that something; facts; PRECEDE proof. Now to believe something is to say that it exists. What exists is not open to proof since it exists a priori to proof. The process that establishes the existence of a thing: Anything; is demonstration. We "verify [show that what we claim is real is real]" facts and "validate [show that it is errorless and conforms to the laws of sound thinking]' our reasoning. Well an Objectivist CAN believe in God on the day; at the hour, minute, picosecond and time quantum, that God's existence is objectively verified. Now it is true that this demonstration must needs rule out mysticism and supernturalism, but those would be consequences of verifying that God exists and not primaries. Good luck at that, though. The best that has been done to date is a kind of pantheism.

    That can be interesting. Pantheism kind of throws everything together and says "This is God". Now some of that "thrown together" includes conscious beings which includes the facutly of consciousness as measured by intentional acts. Since the Universe is the sum total of all it contains, and has all it has, can one say that the universe has consiousness and does that necessarily lead to the idea that the universe IS consciousness? Enjoy!

  13. Denying the existence of God because it can't be proven is an actual logical fallacy (appeal to ignorance), but so is acknowledging the existence of God because you can't prove that God doesn't exist. If you can't use reason to prove that there isn't a god, and you can't use reason to prove that there is a God, shouldn't we just exclude religion from the equation entirely?

  14. The question asker only knows about god through the bible. In the bible that advocates: slaver, blood offerings, killing your children, genital mutilation, self sacrifice, women as property and genocides. 

  15. I feel sorry for the guy who asked the question. Its like he wants to use his brain, reason, logic, facts and intelligent thought. But then on the other hand it wants to believe in fairy tails, myths and mysticism. The two are a complete juxtaposition of each other. And by definition, you cant have your cake and eat it. IE a circle cannot be a square.

  16. @MrChirpsky that's irrelevant, the core idea of Christianity is that there is a God and no amount of abstraction of the doctrines can sway it. Maybe the laws have changed, people's consciences are still guided by a whimsy doctrine and not their own objective reason based judgement.

  17. i don't understand why people are not getting this. the only world we see is reality and all the laws of reality thats it. theres nothing less nothing more. never has been. never will be. god was created from mans mind. without man there is no god to be thought of. without man. there is no religion written down. it was created by man and now it must be destroyed by man.

  18. @MrChirpsky

    Ideas are a product of society? From whence came society and its structure?

    You are package-dealing the notion of "society" with very premise you are arguing against.

    Current "points of contact" exist only because secular ideas and laws of civilization act as a moderator, i.e., facilitating discussion by outlawing coercion.

  19. One of the flaws in Objectivists' standard approach, not just to religion but to all schools of thought, is to treat society as a product of ideas rather than the other way around. For instance, Christianity today is at a vast remove (along a continuum) from what it was even a couple hundred years ago, and there are more points of contact between seemingly opposite schools of thought today and their own origins of hundreds or thousands of years past.

  20. @CipherMind117
    Well to me such "weak" claims are irrelevant.
    In regions of this gravity we should first agree on definitions, like what is logic or what does it mean to be objective in a certain sense.

    And this brings me to your objection to my critique about the Ayn Rand
    Institute's member's statement – unless we agree on those definitions they will remain just statements to one party at least.

  21. It is the only logical assumption that can be made. The claim is still weak, but it is the most logical choice, because it doesn't require anything which we have never observed. Also, saying it isn't logic to "go for the realm of infinity" is rather arbitrary.

    My first post was in response to you saying "And this is the realm of philosophy and not science. It's up for everybody to decide on his own." Objectivism is a philosophy so it is in its purview to say what is moral.

  22. @CipherMind117
    He doesn't say the universe came to be. He says that the universe is a fact; it is the reality. ………."It has always existed. Not always existed as it does now, but all the matter and energy has always existed."
    What? Prove it! It's not even logic to go for the realm of infinity. I'd be very careful addressing this topic.
    About the obejctivism part…Now I see why you mentioned it, but then I don't get your very first reply.

  23. @Torrriate He doesn't say the universe came to be. He says that the universe is a fact; it is the reality. It has always existed. Not always existed as it does now, but all the matter and energy has always existed. He doesn't claim to understand the universe ultimately, but says neither can you or any religion or theist.

    Also this man is from the Ayn Rand Institute, a completely Objectivist group. So that's where the Objectivism bit in my first response came from.

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